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IN THE preceding chapter we have seen the marvelous deliverance which the Lord wrought for Israel at the Red Sea. Only Omnipotence could have intervened and saved the Chosen People at that time. Let all Israel remember that this and all other deliverances are due, not to her own goodness, merit, or work, but to God's covenant which he made with Abraham and his descendants. Therefore all glorying and human pride are excluded. God has a plan for Israel. He has preserved her in order that she might carry out that prearranged program.

The itinerary of Israel's journey from Egypt to Canaan is given in Numbers 33. This chapter might properly be called "Moses' diary," which he, according to verse 2, wrote at the time. Later he incorporated it in the book as this chapter.


According to verse 3 the Israelites left Egypt on the 15th day of the first month-after eating the Passover. By reading Exodus 12 and 13 one sees the historic circumstances connected with their departure. According to Exodus 13:17-14:9, Moses led them from Rameses to Succoth and then to Etham where they encamped. This place was on the edge of the desert. From Etham they could have gone northeastward through the plains of the Philistines and entered Canaan, which route would have been the nearest. The Lord knew that the people who had been in serfdom for more than eighty years could not plunge into open conflict with a people like the Philistines, who were accustomed to all the arts of war.

Therefore He caused them to turn back from Etham, retracing their steps, and to encamp, as we have already learned, before Pihahiroth "between Migdal and the sea, before Baal-zephon." From this place they crossed the Red Sea and entered the wilderness of Etham, going down the east coast of the Gulf of Suez. En route they came to Marah where the people murmured because of a lack of water. God met the need. From there they journeyed to Elim where were twelve springs of water and three score and ten palm trees. Thence they journeyed southward entering the Wilderness

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of Sin on the 15th day of the second month after their departure from Egypt. Here they murmured against God, desiring to return to Egypt to enjoy its fleshpots. At this time the Lord miraculously provided both manna and quail as their diet. They pushed forward in their flight southward from Elim and encamped by the sea. Continuing their journey they entered the Wilderness of Sin. This information is given in Numbers 33, but is omitted from the historical narrative giving the epochal events of the trek. Since the journey was uneventful from here to Rephidim, nothing in the narration of Exodus 16-19 is recorded. At this place, however, they were confronted by the Amalekites who opposed their passing through the country. A battle was fought and won. At this time the Lord commanded Moses saying, "Write this for a memorial in a book, and rehearse it in the ears of Joshua: that I will utterly blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven" (Exodus 17:14).

Jethro, the priest of Midian and Moses' father-in-law, heard of the wonderful things which God had wrought in behalf of Israel. Hence he came to meet them and to learn first-hand how everything was. On the following day, realizing the great burden that was imposed on Moses by the multitudinous routine duties, Jethro suggested the appointment of subordinate judges to manage the minor affairs, whereas Moses was to give his attention to the major problems. This is the last incident recorded concerning events of this stage of the journey.


"In the third month after the children of Israel were gone forth out of the land of Egypt, the same day they came into the wilderness of Sinai." Here they pitched their camp.

It is to be presumed that they arrived at Sinai on the first of the third month, since no day is mentioned. Upon this reasonable hypothesis the journey from Rameses in Egypt to Sinai consumed forty-five days.

At the invitation of the Almighty, Moses went up into the mountain and the Lord conversed with him. From a reading of the first paragraph of Exodus 19, one understands that he went up from the plains where the children of Israel were encamped to a higher elevation in the range. From the peaks, however, the Lord spoke, instructing him what he should say to the people. (See Exodus 19:4-6.)

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In this statement Jehovah promised to be the God of Israel and to bless her if she would be obedient to His voice.

Moses reported to the people all that the Lord had said. Immediately they accepted His offer and declared that they would observe all that He might command. Thereupon Moses instructed them to prepare themselves and on the third day to come near the mountain in order that the Lord might speak to them. At the appointed time everything was in readiness. Immediately there were "thunderings and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of a trumpet exceeding loud; and all the people that were in the camp trembled" (Ex. 19: 16). As the people stood before the mount, the Lord, in the midst of a flame of fire and smoke, descended upon the towering peak, which smoked as a furnace while the entire range quaked. After Moses' interview with the Lord in the mount, the Almighty spoke the Ten Commandments in the form set forth in Exodus 20:1-17. Moses, however, returned to the people at that time. According to verses 18-21 the scene, in the midst of which the voice spoke, was terrifying and the people were affrighted. Hence when Moses returned they requested that he deliver to them the messages from God instead of the latter's speaking to them. In answer to their plea the Lord informed Moses that he should warn them not to make any type of god to worship. In addition to this prohibition He gave full instructions as to the kind of altar upon which they should make their sacrifices. At this time the Lord gave Moses "the book of the covenant," which constitutes Exodus 21-23, and which he at the time wrote (Ex. 24: 4). At the ratification of this pact a special ceremony consisting of sacrifices and an offering was observed. Following these divine services Moses with Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu and seventy elders of the people went up into the mountain and beheld the presence of the God of Israel as He was seated upon His majestic throne (Ex. 24: 9-11). From this position Moses and Joshua were summoned to ascend to a higher point in the range. Leaving the elders they went yet farther to greater heights. For six days the glory of God remained upon the mountain. On the seventh day, out of the midst of the clouds, God called Moses. Entering this cloud of glory surrounding the Almighty he remained with Him for forty days and nights. At this time the Lord gave the complete instructions for the construction of the Tabernacle with all of its service (Ex. 25-31).

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At the conclusion of this period Moses returned with the tables of stone. As he approached the camp, he heard a tumult, the boisterous worship of the golden calf, which, Israel in the meantime had made. Thereupon he cast the tables of the law upon the ground, breaking them. This act was symbolic of the fact that Israel had violated the covenant into which she had just entered. Again Moses was invited to return into the mountain for further revelations. At this time the Lord gave him the words which had been engraven on the first tablets. Thereupon Moses wrote them as duplicate forms of the first tablets and returned to the camp with these precious oracles (Ex. 32-34). In Exodus 35-39 appears an account of the construction of the Tabernacle, or tent of meeting, which was set up, according to Ex. 40: 17, on the first day of the first month of the second year of the Exodus, that is, New Year's Day 2514 A.H. When it was erected, the cloud of glory of the God of Israel descended and covered it. This act symbolized His dwelling in the midst of Israel.

It appears that, as soon as God took up His abode in the Tabernacle, He spoke from its door the legislation that is found in the book of Leviticus. This truly is "the book of the law." There is but one item of chronological interest found in the book. It appears as Leviticus 16:1: "And Jehovah spake unto Moses, after the death of the two sons of Aaron, when they drew near before Jehovah," etc. This incident occurred sometime during the first month of the year 2514. The full account of the death of Nadab and Abihu is in Leviticus 10.

Was Moses the first to deliver the law of God to the people? Frequently we hear this question answered in the affirmative. Upon further investigation we see that this is not true, for in Genesis 26:5 appears this amazing utterance: "because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws." This statement was made to Isaac concerning his father Abraham, who obeyed the call of God to leave his native country, the Ur of the Chaldees, for a land which God would show him. Being obedient to the heavenly vision he went forth and entered Canaan, which God afterward vouchsafed to him. Not only did he obey the voice of the Almighty, but he also kept His charge, commandments, statutes, and laws. From this statement we learn that there were commandments, statutes, and laws which God designated as His, and which Abraham literally obeyed. In this connection we must remember that Abraham obeyed the call of God

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in the year 2083 A.H., when he was 75 years of age. This instance was 430 years prior to the giving of the law at Sinai. It was impossible for Abraham to obey God's laws if there had been none at the time. Since he kept them, we therefore must conclude that God, at least 430 years before the giving the law at Sinai, had delivered laws, statutes and ordinances to His servants.

Light is thrown upon this subject by a careful study of Genesis 14, in which passage we read of Melchizedek king of Salem (Jerusalem) and priest of God most high, to whom Abraham paid tithes. Melchizedek was the priest-king reigning over a small kingdom with Jerusalem as his royal city. He was also the high priest of God Most High. The Lord brought him out of a heathen environment and placed him in the kingdom of Melchizedek in order that he might have an opportunity of worshiping in deed and in truth and of observing His commandments, statutes, and laws.

Throughout the book of Genesis we read of certain ones who offered burnt offerings and sacrifices. One scholar has also called our attention to the fact that there are forty-one laws referred to in Genesis which were later incorporated in the Mosaic code, All of these facts lead us to believe that the Lord originally and at subsequent times delivered His revelation to the people who were thirsting after Him, and who wanted to do His will. Those of this attitude were, of course, in the minority as is evidenced from the fact that the Lord had to call Abraham out of the heathen environment of Chaldea and lead him into the kingdom of Melchizedek, his servant. When one studies the sacrifices and the ritual in Genesis and compares them with those found in the Mosaic code, he will see that they are indeed very similar. From these facts one draws this conclusion: God gave a primitive revelation and a system of worship, which was observed by the minority through the early centuries of the race. Finally, when Israel developed into nationhood, He made a further disclosure of His will, incorporating into it certain moral and legal elements from the primitive revelation and the ritualism which were essential to the further unfolding of the scheme of redemption and His eternal plan. Confirmation of this position is seen by a glance at Psalm 40: 6-8:6

Sacrifice and offering thou hast no delight in;
Mine ears hast thou opened:
Burnt-offering and sin-offering hast thou not required.
7 Then said I, Lo, I am come;
In the roll of the book it is written of me :
8 I delight to do thy will, 0 my God;
Yea, thy law is within my heart.

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Note that David quotes from "the roll of the book." An examination of our Scriptures shows that there is no passage to this effect. Nevertheless, he quoted it from the "Roll of the Book." Evidently there was a primitive revelation given originally by the Lord for a definite and specific purpose, from which he quoted. When God had accomplished His plan in giving it He selected those elements from it which were of an enduring nature and led Moses to incorporate them into his ritual and legal codes. When it had served its purpose, the Lord caused it to pass out of circulation.

A comparison of the Mosaic legislation with the code of Hammurabi reveals the fact that in many instances there is almost verbal agreement. Many scholars are convinced that Moses borrowed these elements common to both codes, since he lived something like 400 years after this noted Babylonian king. This hypothesis is not necessary and, in fact, is unsupported. I am bold to say that there was copying done. It is true that Hammurabi could not copy from Moses, because he was dead long before Moses was born. Hammurabi is the one who did the borrowing. Without doubt he copied the statutes common to his code and the Mosaic from the original primitive revelation which God made. The elements common to both codes are the ones which Hammurabi copied from the primitive revelation, and which Moses by inspiration brought over and embodied in his legislation. This is an adequate, sane, and rational explanation of the literary phenomena which we observe. It meets all the historical demands and satisfies the intellect and heart of those who desire the truth.


The second lap of Israel's wanderings in the wilderness was the journey from Mount Sinai to Kadesh-barnea, the southernmost outpost of the land of Canaan. On the first day of the second month of the second year of the Exodus (2514 A.H.), Moses took a census of the people preparatory to their departure for Canaan. The account is found in Numbers 1 and 2. There were certain ones who had been unable to observe the Passover at the appointed time, the 14th day of the first month. For such, a second opportunity was given on the 14th day of the second month. This is called "The Little Passover" (Numbers 9:1-14). Further preparation for the journey was the making of two silver trumpets which played a most important part in the early life of Israel. They

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were used for both giving the signals to march and also for the ceremony in connection with certain sacrifices (Num. 10:1-10).

On the twentieth day of the second month the hosts of Israel set forward from Sinai on their journey towards Canaan. The route which they took is accurately described in. Numbers 33. The account is found in Numbers 10:11-12:16. According to Deuteronomy 1:3 the journey from Mount Sinai to Kadesh was eleven days.

The outstanding occurrence during this stage of their march was the appointment of the seventy elders who assisted Moses in the civil administration. This special court proved to be, according to certain authorities, the pattern after which the Jewish Sanhedrin of later days was fashioned.


We are told in Numbers 12:16 that the hosts of Israel camped in the wilderness of Paran. At that time the Lord commanded Moses to send men in order to spy out the land of Canaan. A prince was selected from each of the tribes. According to N umbers 13:26, Kadesh is the point from which they entered the Land. They went northward as far as the entrance of Hamath, which is now in Syria. Upon their return ten brought back an evil report, whereas two, Joshua and Caleb, stated the situation as it was and affirmed that by God's help they could enter the land and possess their possession. Unfortunately the people believed the ten and rejected the minority report submitted by Joshua and Caleb. In doing so they disbelieved God and feared their enemies. When they took this attitude, God forbade their going any farther. Then, like disobedient children, who, when they are forbidden to do a thing, are determined to disobey instruction, they took the positive stand that, although the Lord had forbidden their going forward, nevertheless they would do it. Hence they made an unsuccessful attempt and were thrown back in utter defeat at Hormah. No one can disobey God without being punished. Man has the power of choice and the freedom of the will. The Lord, however, overrules all things and brings retribution for every transgression and disobedience.

When Jehovah announced to Moses that Israel could not enter the land, he disclosed the fact that they must wander in the wilderness for forty years as punishment for their disobedience. They were to continue in their wanderings a year for each day that the

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spies were in the land. The object of their remaining in the wilderness for such a time was that those who rebelled against the Lord and His Word might die off, and that there might arise a new generation with a different spirit. This instance and the one in Ezekiel 4 are used as proof of what is popularly known as the year-day theory. This hypothesis affirms that a day in prophecy foreshadows a year in history. In these two instances this statement is true, for in no other cases found in the Scriptures can we apply this principle without reducing the passages to an absurdity. But this question will be reviewed in chapter XXI, which discusses speculation and date-setting.

Israel's experience at Kadesh-barnea proved to be an epoch in the life of the Chosen People.. It never pays to disobey the Lord.


Since the journey from Sinai to Kadesh took eleven days, and since Israel began this journey on the twentieth day of the second month of the second year of the Exodus, we may conclude that they arrived at Kadesh-barnea in a very short time. It is true that they were detained for several days at different places en route. We have little information concerning what they did during this period of thirty-eight years. It is covered in Numbers 15-19; for in chapter 20, verse 1, we read of their being in the Wilderness of Sin in the first month. One cannot be dogmatic and say that this was the first month of the fortieth year; nevertheless everything points in that direction. During the interval between their visits to Kadesh we know little of the history.


About this time the people again murmured against God and Moses because of lack of water and food. Moses in exasperation, contrary to the command of God, smote the rock and by so doing misrepresented God. For this disobedience he was punished and denied the privilege of entering the land (Psalm 107:32, 33). From Kadesh he sent messages to the king of Edom requesting permission to pass through his territory, but was denied. Nevertheless Israel set out to Mount Hor on Edom's western border. Here Aaron died in the fifth month of the fortieth year. In the vicinity they fought against the Canaanite king of Arad. In answer to their cry to God they were enabled to destroy all their enemies in this section.

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From this place they journeyed southward, going to the gulf of Akabah. They again murmured against God and Moses because of a lack of bread and water. The punishment on this occasion was the Lord's sending the fiery serpents, which destroyed many of them. From the gulf of Akabah they went northward, skirting the land of Edom on the east. They crossed over the Brook Zered and finally came to the Arnon. This stream formed the boundary between Moab and Edom.


Upon reaching the Arnon Moses sent messengers to the king of Heshbon requesting permission to pass through the land. He answered by drawing up his forces on the border. War broke out in which Israel was victorious.

At this time Og, king of Bashan, became involved in the conflict, and Joshua with the forces of Israel conquered all Transjordan and the Hauran district, which territory was divided among the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh.


When Balak, king of Moab, saw that Joshua had conquered the kingdoms of Sihon and Og, he immediately dispatched messengers to Syria to engage the services of Balaam, a soothsayer and false prophet, in an attempt to curse the children of Israel. Balak offered large rewards for his services. The Lord, on the other hand, warned him not to go. Balak, however, knew Balaam's weaknesses, a love for money and popularity. Hence he increased his offers. Finally, Balaam came and attempted four times to pronounce a curse upon Israel. Each time, however, the Lord turned his curse into a blessing. (See Neh. 13:1, 2.)

In the four oracles which God permitted Balaam to utter, he pronounced a special blessing upon Israel. Looking out into the distant future, he foretold the glorious kingdom era, when she will be so very numerous that it will be impossible for an individual to number the fourth part of the nation (Num. 23:10) ; when she will be free from all sin and perverseness (vs. 21); when the topography of Palestine will have been changed, becoming like the garden of God, and their King will be higher than the highest (24: 5-7) ; and when He will have conquered all of her enemies (vss. 17-19). In these predictions are found the germinal thoughts that are expanded in the utterances of the later prophets.

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When Balaam was not permitted to curse Israel, he decided that by seduction he would cripple her. He did this by influencing the people of Moab to invite the Israelites to join them in a religious festival. This thing they did. Thus the nation was ensnared to depart from God and to engage in idolatrous practices (Num. 25).

When one reads Balaam's prophecies, he sees the invisible guiding hand of God overruling among the nations and working out His plans and purposes for Israel. In His covenant with Abraham He promised that He would bless those who bless Israel and curse those who curse her. No weapon that is formed against her shall prosper. Haman endeavored to destroy the Jewish people, but was prevented. The gallows on which he determined to have Mordecai the Jew hanged proved to be the one upon which he forfeited his life.

Although the Lord will curse those who curse Israel, He will punish every transgression and disobedience on the part of any Hebrew. Therefore, let no Jewish man or woman think that, because he is one of the Chosen People, he can sin with immunity. God deals with everyone upon the merits of his conduct.


When Israel was encamped on the plains of Moab, Moses delivered his final orations which constitute the book of Deuteronomy, the repetition of the law. He began his lectures by recounting the wonderful things which God had wrought for His people in bringing them out of Egypt and taking care of them through their forty years of disobedience. Naturally he reviewed the circumstances of the giving of the law at Sinai and reiterated the instructions concerning the various statutes and ordinances together with the ritualism of the Tabernacle service.

It is needless to say that he delivered these wonderful messages by the absolute inspiration of the Holy Spirit. This section of Scripture, like all others, has the same ring of truth and inerrancy.

In this section of the Word are to be found some new legislation and instructions which were not delivered at Sinai. God gave His revelation as there was a need. Naturally, therefore, we would expect some further disclosures of the truth in these final messages. Deuteronomy covers the last two months of the fortieth year of the wanderings.

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The murmurings of the children of Israel and their ingratitude, humanly speaking, were enough to provoke any man. Moses, however, lost his balance once. Since he stood as a representative of God to the people, it ill became him to fly into a rage at the outcropping of their rebellious nature. Hence he had to be punished for his failure and sin. This chastisement came in the form of his being denied entrance into the Land. He was, however, graciously permitted to go to the heights of Pisgah in the land of Moab and to view the country flowing with milk and honey, promised to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and their descendants forever.

After outlining in both prose and poetical forms the checkered, meandering course which Israel's history would take through the centuries, Moses pronounced his blessings upon his brethren. Shortly he passed out of this life into the presence of his Maker. God buried him. No man knows where the grave is until this day.

As to who wrote his obituary no one can be positive. By inspiration he may have written it, or some other servant of God may have done it. The human author is immaterial. Our studies have brought us up to the close of the fortieth year of the Exodus, which was 2552. This period of national sorrow for her beloved leader brought Israel up to a new milestone in her march through the centuries.

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